By Jan Carabeo and Greg Argos
WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — Thousands turned Friday out to pay their final respects to Delaware State Police Cpl. Stephen Ballard’s funeral.
Family, friends, dignitaries and law enforcement from all across the region are attending the celebration of life service at the Chase Center in Wilmington.
The outpouring of support by the community for Ballard’s family and friends has been immense.
The Wawa in Bear, New Castle County where the trooper was shot and killed last week has turned into a memorial, overflowing with balloons and flowers.
It was there, along Pulaski Highway, where Ballard was gunned down.
He was checking a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot.
After the shooting, the gunman, identified as 26-year-old Burgon Sealy Jr., then barricaded himself in his Middletown, Delaware home, keeping police at bay and a community on edge.
After a 20-hour standoff, he was shot and killed by police.
Ballard’s casket arrived with full escort to the Chase Center as hundreds of his co-workers from the Delaware State Police stood at attention.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was also on hand to pay his respects.
More than 1500 law enforcement officers from throughout the first state and as far away as New Mexico gathered in Wilmington to honor Corporal Ballard.
“Anytime a law enforcement officer is killed anywhere in the country, it’s something that resonates throughout the entire law enforcement community,” said Cpt. Luis Hernandez with the New Mexico State Police.
Both of Shirley Powell sons are police officers. One knew Corporal Ballard. She says despite the tragedy of losing the 32-year-old, the beauty of celebrating his life and commitment to Delaware shined even the heaviest rain…
“It was his dream. It was what he wanted to do. He lived for it. It was a calling,” she said.
Ballard leaves behind his wife and young daughter.